Want to be successful at your goals this new year? Don’t do this one thing…
Have you ever had good intentions to make good on your New Year resolutions and goals, only to find that intentions weren’t enough? This has happened to me. Like the year I told myself I would work out in the morning at least three times a week. Or the year I said I would read through the Bible in a year. Or the year I said I would write a weekly blog post. None of these things happened for lots of different reasons, but one of the biggest was the “full plate” syndrome.
Think of your dinner plate. Let’s go with the meal I prepared last night. You have your salad, your lasagna, and your garlic bread. Seriously, is there room for anything else on the plate? Not really. Not even if it’s the healthy stuff, like the salad. It doesn’t matter how good it is for you, it just won’t fit. Not until you finish what you’ve already got, then you can have seconds.
A sure way to feel overwhelmed, even with good stuff, is to add extra stuff on top of the stuff you’re already doing. Get ready for the burn out. Get ready for your new, under-developed goals to be the first thing to get dropped. Nobody can eat all that stuff on their plate!
Something has to go.
Is it the late show, so you can wake up earlier? Is it the Starbucks coffee, so you can afford the gym membership? What has to be taken off the plate so you can make room for the good new thing? You will need to let go of something, even if it’s a good thing. It’s a mistake to just heap more good things on your plate without first taking something else off.
Here are a few that are making my list this year.
- I’m taking a new job teaching Communications two days a week at Northwest University. This means having fewer hours available for my counseling practice. Instead of adding the teaching hours on top of the hours I’m already working, I cut out some hours of counseling availability.
- I joined a gym this fall with a monthly fee. I cut out manicures and pedicures. Good thing it’s not flip flop weather.
- I plan to finish a manuscript by April. I must give up all evening TV until then, except Downton Abby. Let’s not be extreme, people!
- I plan to give my daughters more responsibility around the house this year. I must give up the twice-a-month cleaning lady. (I’m already hearing screams of terror, and the gnashing of teeth… and I think it’s coming from me…)
- I plan to fit in two sprint triathlons this summer. That means I have to give up some summer leisure time to train. I also have to give up drinking margaritas the night before training. Oh the Agony!
- Create More. Stress Less. In order to make creativity a daily value and part of my happy existence, I must give up the urge to work, work, work. I painted some Zen Tangle over Christmas break… I’m hooked!
What are your goals that you want to accomplish this year? What will you take off your plate in order to make it happen? Go ahead and share them here. I’d love to hear about them and cheer you on! Good Luck!
It’s half way through your 2013, and time to brush up on your goals. Have they changed since making them at the beginning of the year? Are you right on track, or do you seem helplessly off course? Don’t panic! Successful people know that just because the HOW, WHEN, and WHAT of Goals may change, doesn’t mean the GOAL disappears or loses its integrity. Allowing our strategies to flex and morph to fit current needs is not a failure in anyway. You can only make decisions and goals based on what you know at the time. Six months ago, you had less information about yourself, about your circumstances, and about your tribe than you do now. These past six months have informed you, educated you and prepared you to make the adjustments your goals need for success.
One goal I made at the beginning of the year was to race in the Iron Girl Seattle Triathlon. I’m not a racer, runner, swimmer or contender of any kind, so this was a pretty hefty challenge. With wet suit in hand, new tires on my college bike, and hundreds of hours on the trail and in the pool, I’m on track to meet my goal this August. This is a goal that is well within my sites.
But that is not the case for every goal I set in January. I walked away from the radio show I hosted, and I’m counseling fewer hours than I initially planned. I had to make severe cuts (ok, more like rip, thrash and set fire) to the goals I set 6 months ago because new circumstances, new opportunities, and new information came along. If you’ve had to slash some of your dreams and goals, don’t worry, you’re still on track- or at least close enough to get back on. Goals are mile markers on a map- they are not the final destination, and they are yours to do with what you need. Change them, Specify them, Shelf them, Laser-Beam Focus on them- whatever you need to do to make them work for you. You’re the boss of your goals.
It’s ok to be flexible and make adjustments to the WHAT, WHEN, and HOW of your goals. If you must let some go completely, be sure to boil them down to the essence before you do. That way, you’ll be able to keep the HEART of why you made that goal in the first place.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you re-evaluate, readjust and refocus on your 2013 GOALS.
- Name the value. What are some of your biggest values? Off the top of your head, what are the things in life that you care most deeply about? Is it family, education, faith, community service? Where does health and personal growth fit into your value system? If you say that personal growth is a value of yours you leave little time or investment for it, then spend some time reevaluating the priority of your values.
- Name the specific goal. It may be tempting to shoot first several goals that you want in the next year, but it is most realistic to pick one or two. Instead of hoping for the ideal, let’s shoot for the real. What are the top two goals that you’d like to accomplish this year? Ask yourself these questions; what value will accomplishing this goal add to your life? Why is this goal important to you? How will achieving this goal change your life for the better?
- Name the behaviors needed to reach your goal. What specific actions do you need to take? To reach my goals, for example, I’ll need to schedule one hour in every work day to focus my energy on my specific goal. This will take time, financial investment, and energy. I will not reach my goal if I wait for my schedule to allow for enough time to work on my goal. I must be proactive to schedule a time for myself. I must dictate my calendar, instead of my calendar dictating to me.
- Name the outcome measure. How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? When evaluating your outcome measures, be sure to set smaller goals that turn into bigger goals. Progress is a series of small increments toward the desired outcome. Each increment of progress is worthwhile and necessary.
- Name your threat. What are the things that will get you off course? Here are some common ones; fear of failure, lack of financial investment, lack of time investment, lack of support, distractions, and insecurities. You may be tempted to use your time and money for others sayings instead of your goal. You may be tempted to settle for the good, instead of reaching the best. Recognize the threats that will keep you from accomplishing your goals, and plan for them.
What goals have you adjusted? I’d love to hear about them. What goals have you scrapped all together? Which ones are you still working on, and what do you need to be successful?